The California Pear Advisory Board is anticipating a successful summer season
July is a special time for the California Pear Advisory Board. It marks the start of the state’s pear season, which means those delicious and healthy fruits are ready to be part of the summer dining scene.
“We are anticipating an excellent crop of California Pears this season, with harvest starting the first part of July,” said Chris Zanobini, executive director of the California Pear Advisory Board, headquartered in Sacramento. “We expect an excellent supply of high quality pears. Overall, we will have approximately 2.5 million boxes of pears, which is about 8 percent down from last year.”
One of the highlights of any pear season is the start of the Bartlett harvest, which Zanobini said is anticipated to begin around July 13.
“It is really the first fresh pear of the season,” he said of the Bartlett. “The California Bartlett is guaranteed to be free of 1-MCP and will handle and ripen like a Bartlett pear should. It ultimately will be sweet and juicy for consumer enjoyment. Bartlett pears in California date back to the Gold Rush, so California has been successfully doing this for a very long time.”
1-MCP is a product that impedes fruit ripening. Producers in many growing regions use 1-MCP to extend a pear’s storage life. Unfortunately, a 1-MCP treated pear may not ever ripen properly. It may turn yellow and appear to be ripe but never soften. This disappoints consumers and prevents repeat sales.
The absence of 1-MCP reflects the California pear industry’s commitment to not use anti-ripening products to expand the shelf life of pears.
“We believe that pears should ripen and be a wonderful eating experience for consumers,” Zanobini said, adding that California’s warm summer days and cool nights help produce some of the best pears in the world.
Another factor in not using 1-MCP is to give California pears an edge in a very competitive market.
“Competition for consumers’ dollars is intense, and by making a commitment to consumers by our commitment to not use 1-MCP, we are working to provide the best-tasting pear around,” he said.
Established in 1992, the California Pear Advisory Board is a state agricultural marketing organization that covers fresh and processed Bartlett pears produced in California through promotion, research, standardization, policy and industry statistics and information. Other pear varieties grown in California include the Sunsprite, Bosc, Forelle, Comice, the Red Pear and Seckel. Zanobini said the board’s mission is to aggressively advance the interest of California’s pear growers.
“The board needs to continue to look out for growers’ interests and to communicate to the greater retail industry that California is a unique growing region for pears,” he said.
The effects of COVID-19 have been significant, of course, and Zanobini said California’s pear growers have been diligent when it comes to the safety of staff members and consumers. He noted California pear growers are taking extra steps in the orchards and packing facilities to ensure a safe, healthy supply of fresh pears during this time.
“Our growers and packers in California are committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all of our employees and they are taking additional measures to ensure that our orchards and facilities are safe and employing the best measures for a successful and safe harvest and packing season,” Zanobini said. “In addition, we are committed to providing retailers, and ultimately consumers, with a safe, fresh nutritious product.”